More broadly I think it's just superstition. For example, believing a demon (or curse or just an unreasoned "best guess" or gut thought) is causing something, or that doing X will fix something (where X is not a well-reasoned action). I don't think people in Ghana are inherently more or less superstitious than, say, Americans — it's just that we live in a society which guides our natural tendencies and shapes them into something different than society in Ghana does.
For the same reason, I don't think the German majority who went along with Hitler before and during WWII were different than Americans (or anyone else), it's just that the environment and social factors were such that the masses ended up expressing themselves in a very negative way. In America, there is less racism than there was a century ago, but that is not because we've evolved to be more intelligent or something like that (we haven't), it's just that society guides us differently than it did then, so we end up in a different place. I hope one day in the future we will stop causing animals to suffer, and if that ever happens I think people will look back at people in our times and think about them in the same way we currently think about people who stood by and did nothing and had absurd opinions about the abuse of blacks during the worst times for them in this country.
This also explains why people raised in one location tend follow a particular religion, or no religion, or whatever… the religious people in my family for example are Christian, but no doubt had I grown up in a predominantly Muslim country, the religious people in my family would all (or mostly) be Muslim. It's not some kind of crazy coincidence.
So that's why I say we are just stupid animals. The only way the masses — not the odd individual, but the masses — will behave reasonably (and hopefully positively) is if society has makes that the easiest, most comfortable, attractive path to take. Even then, I think deep down, for most people, it's basically rote behavior, but I don't know.
Point is, we are capable of terrible things by default. But yes, the solution is to alter behavior, and I agree that stories like this are helpful for that reason.